Komura to visit China in early May

Kyodo

Ruling Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Masahiko Komura said Monday he will visit China during the Golden Week holidays in early May to try to help mend bilateral ties.

Komura, a former foreign minister, is arranging a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who succeeded Hu Jintao in March, he said. Komura heads a group of lawmakers friendly with China and is expected to be accompanied by other members of the group.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe encouraged Komura in his endeavor during a meeting at the prime minister’s office earlier in the day, noting that Japan and China are still struggling to mend relations that have been severely frayed over conflicting claims to the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

Abe may decide to send Komura to China as his special envoy, according to people close to the matter.

Komura told reporters after the meeting he hopes to meet with Xi but he has not received a reply from China.